East End Digest, August 13 through August 20

Posted on 20 August 2009

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Parrish Art Museum Unveils Plans for New Space

The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton unveiled last week a re-conceptualized design for its new museum, to be constructed on the 14-acre site the Parrish acquired in Water Mill. Herzog & de Meuron’s revamped design emphasizes the natural northern light and incorporates the indigenous landscape and local architecture of the East End, especially the many artists’ studios in the area. The proposed design, which has received the unanimous support of the Parrish’s Board of Trustees, is now under review by the Southampton Town Planning Board.

“We could not be more pleased with this design, which enables us to function as a true center for community engagement, serving a broad and diverse audience, including the thousands of school children who visit us each year, by providing access to stellar works of art and ways to explore our special artistic heritage,” said Terrie Sultan, Director of the Parrish Art Museum. “The new plan will allow us to build a beautiful facility within a sensible budget and a reasonable time frame. The design will be flexible, sustainable, and economically achievable.”

The building will provide more than 37,300 square feet of space, which is nearly twice the size of the existing museum in Southampton Village. With 12,000 square feet of unencumbered flexible galleries it also includes the first galleries dedicated to displaying the museum’s important permanent collection. The museum will also include educational and multi-purpose spaces, a lobby, and a café and kitchen. The design incorporates administrative offices and on site space for storage and care of the permanent collection.

Located on the north side of Montauk Highway, the proposed new Parrish will be a horizontal structure consisting of two parallel wings joined by a central circulation spine running the length of the building. The poured-in-place concrete walls are deeply recessed under a long and elegant white corrugated metal roof and will incorporate large sections of glass that permit views through the museum and into the surrounding landscape.

“The new project is in a way a more radical and simplified version of our original design for the Parrish,” said architect Jacques Herzog. “Its clarity in concept, in combination with straightforward construction details and building materials, can be seen as a process of purification in immediate response to the museum’s newly defined brief. Our proposal to collaborate from the beginning with local contractors on the realization of our ideas proved to be an extremely efficient and rewarding process for us as well as for the project.”

In addition, the museum has decreased their suggested donation in light of current economic conditions and in an effort to make its programs as accessible as possible. The suggested donation is now $5, $3 for senior citizens and students 18 and over. Children under 18 and museum members are admitted free. Visitors unable to make the suggested donation are requested to give what they can.

Noyac

Marina Thefts
Citing numerous complaints from Noyac residents, the Southampton Town Board agreed to prohibit parking on Noyac Bay Avenue up to its intersection with Mill Road, between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from May 15 to September 15. A petition was recently submitted to the town with more than a dozen signatures from local residents, who asked the board to prohibit parking in this area in the hopes that it would thwart a rising number of thefts.

“We have been having a problem in recent months with thefts. People have been breaking into automobiles and a home was burglarized. It would help if they didn’t have a place to park their vehicles,” contended local resident Tom Loreto, who added that there are between 300 to 400 yards of parking near the Northampton Colony Yacht Club where there are no homes.

Loreto’s wife Elena added that many of the boats docked in the marina have been vandalized in recent months.

“Electronics, nets, fishing poles, mechanical things, gas tanks have all been taken from the boats. We need some assistance and we need some kind of protection for the houses along the ocean. People who aren’t residents can always park near Trout Pond,” noted Elena Loreto.

Southampton Town

Superintendent of Highways
In the past few weeks, the Southampton Town Board has mulled over having the voters decide this November to change the superintendent of highways from an elected position to an appointed one. The idea faced many initial hurdles, after deputy town attorney Kathleen Murray discovered the shift would make the position subject to regulations from the state department of civil service, who would set the qualifications for the job and make the town hire a person from a department sanctioned hiring list. During a work session almost two weeks ago, Murray informed the board that they could create the position of commissioner of public works for the superintendent of highways, which wouldn’t be subject to the civil service guidelines. However, as the idea was vetted amongst the board several times, it began to lose traction and it appears at the next town board meeting on Tuesday, August 25, it will most likely be voted down.

Southampton Town

Surviving Hurricanes

According to Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, the town board liaison to the Office of Emergency Management, the Official Town of Southampton “2009 Hurricane Survival Guide” has been published. The guide has been updated and revised and includes important telephone numbers, checklists, tips to keep residents and their families safe, and valuable information to help prepare for a hurricane and its aftermath.

Councilwoman Graboski noted that, “There is no way that government can take care of everybody. Rather, we need our residents and visitors to share in this responsibility, so that we can best protect ourselves, our families, and our property. It is up to each of us to see that our homes are secure and our relocation plans are made well in-advance.”

Public safety administrator Cheryl Kraft, head of the Office of Emergency Management, stressed that, “Evacuation means relocation, often no farther than one mile out of a flood relocation zone.” In the event that residents do have to relocate, it is especially important to plan ahead to make alternative arrangements, well in-advance of a hurricane threat, to stay with a family member, friend, or co-worker. Residents who do not live in a flood relocation zone or in a mobile or manufactured home should shelter in place. Additionally, she noted that residents should be prepared for the possibility of being without electricity for an extended period, and that it could be some time before there is a return to normalcy.

According to Kraft a limited number of shelters, managed by the American Red Cross, will be opened in the town. However, residents needing to relocate out of flood prone areas are encouraged to make alternative plans well in advance, with shelters to be used as a last resort.

The “2009 Official Town of Southampton Hurricane Survival Guide” is available online atwww.southamptontownny.gov, under the Emergency Preparedness link. To request a copy by mail, residents may call 287-5745.

Suffolk County Legislature

Public Hearings

Legislator Jay Schneiderman announced last week that the general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature would be held on Tuesday, August 18, at the Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center in Riverhead, which was the second of the two legislative meetings held on the East End this year due to the renovation of the Riverhead County Center building. The meeting featured a number of public hearings dedicated to legislation of significant interest to East End residents.

The day gave constituents a chance to offer five minutes of testimony on topics ranging from wireless communications surcharge to a local law to further enhance and strengthen the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Act. Along with legislation to reauthorize the Hotel and Motel Tax, the Suffolk County Legislature is considering increasing county taxes on hotel and motel stays in an effort to increase revenue.

Additionally, the Montauk legislator stressed the particular importance of the hearings on Introductory Resolution 1709 and Resolution 1722 both seeking to amend the Drinking Water Protection Program to increase funding for property tax relief.
Southampton Town

Comptroller Visit

As a prelude to a long-awaited state audit of town’s finances, representatives from the New York State Comptroller’s Office visited Southampton Town Hall yesterday to conduct “entrance interviews” with Supervisor Linda Kabot, the town board, and key administrators.

The sessions with the state’s local government team served to provide an opportunity for town board members and other officials to learn more about the state auditing process and ask additional questions. The actual audit and in-depth analysis will begin in late September and is anticipated to last approximately six months.

“At the request of our comptroller and business manager, the official state audit will begin in late September after the completion of the town’s forensic audit of the capital budget, the restatement of the 2007 financials, and the annual audit for 2008,” said Kabot. “The state intends to examine the financial transactions for all of 2008 and eight months of 2009, through August 31.”

The town board formally requested that the state conduct a risk analysis of the Town’s financial accounting system by way of a resolution unanimously adopted on February 24. The intention, said Kabot, is to have the State’s auditing team do a performance evaluation and render recommendations on strengthening internal controls. “This will help the Town improve public accountability, decision-making, and result in timelier financial reporting,” Kabot added.

“The input of the State Comptroller is critical for the Town to complete its corrective action plans and address several financial irregularities that have come to light from prior years,” concluded Kabot. “We have been looking forward to the state comptroller’s analysis for some time, and the opportunity to review any recommendations they have for the Town of Southampton during this tough economic time.”

Southampton

Town Hall Meeting
On Thursday, August 27, Congressman Bishop will host a “Town Hall” meeting at the Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville. The meeting is open to all members of the public and constituents are encouraged to ask the congressman about any issue regarding health care reform.

“I hold ‘Town Hall’ meetings to hear from my constituents, learn from them, let them know where I stand on the issues, and hopefully they learn something from me,” said Congressman Bishop. “Health care reform affects every family, and I have had so many good conversations with people. I expect this ‘Town Hall’ will also be a productive discussion. All I ask is for everyone who attends to treat one another with the same respect that they would expect themselves.”

Congressman Bishop says he has spent the month of August focused on health care policy, including meeting with dozens of constituents to discuss where they stand, hosting tele-Town Hall meetings with thousands of people, studying the legislation that is currently before the House of Representatives and personally calling constituents who have contacted his office. Congressman Bishop maintains that he is currently undecided on how he will vote on health care legislation.

“If you live in the 1st Congressional District and you have an opinion on health care, I want to hear from you,” said Congressman Bishop. “However, just as I am studying the bill and learning the facts, there is so much incorrect information out there about this legislation that I hope everyone will take the time to learn the facts.”

Congressman Bishop has posted a special “Health Care Reform” page on his website where constituents can read the bill, listen to an unedited health care tele-Town Hall meeting, and learn the truth about common myths concerning health care reform.

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